If I’m hungry, I’m not going to sit down with a stack of cookbooks and a mental list of the ingredients I just might have on hand and try to come up with …. ugh! Even describing the process is more effort than I want to put into cooking. More often than not I’ll make a peanut butter & jelly sandwich or a bean-and-cheese burrito and call it good. Beans are healthy, right? Close enough.
However, a month ago I declared that I was going to get serious about getting in better shape for my wedding this winter. It took a check-up with the doctor last week to make me actually act on that. I looked into various herbal weight-loss programs, ultimately decided to try to change my eating habits -- hopefully something that would help me maintain weight loss for a long time. I thought I was eating fairly healthy, but after some evaluation, I’m not getting nearly enough protein. Being a vegetarian – especially a lazy one – makes doing so a little tricky. I needed food that was veg-friendly, high in protein, low in fat and carbs, and required little to no prep work. There's a lot of useful information and natural health resources over at World's Healthiest Foods. After reading up on various foods, and keeping tabs on what I eat, I’ve found a couple things that I’m really pretty happy with:
Kashi GoLean High Protein & High Fiber Cereal has 1 gram of fat, 10 grams of fiber, and 13 grams of protein per serving. That’s 40% of the fiber – very filling! – and 20% of the protein you need for a whole day! I toss a cup of it in a baggie and have it to munch on all day. The only way it could be easier is if it came pre-packaged in single-serving bags.
Low-fat cottage cheese with fruit: I’m one of those people who actually enjoys cottage cheese. It took some time to honestly enjoy the low-fat version, but still… cottage cheese is a surprisingly good source of protein: a 1-cup serving has 28 grams – over 50% of your RDI! It’s also a natural source of selenium, riboflavin and B-12. (Careful though – it does have quite a bit of sodium.) Throw a few spoonfuls of that in a bowl and top with a handful of superfruit blueberries and you’re set!
And now my personal favorite: Natural Peanut Butter. One of the grocery store brands here hooked me with its ingredients list: “Ingredients: Peanuts. Contains: Just peanuts.” I’ll never go back to the regular, processed, kind: too sweet and slick, full of preservatives, and it tastes nothing like peanuts. Yuck. Not good for you. But one that’s nothing but ground peanuts? Actually pretty beneficial (but watch out for the fat content, heart-healthy though it may be). In addition to protein, peanuts provide antioxidants, phytosterols, vitamins, minerals, and even resveratrol. And prep work? Just hand me a spoon. I. Love. Peanut butter. My fiancé suggested at one point I might need an intervention, but it’s totally under control, I swear.